My Kitchen Needs a Video Crew on Thanksgiving
Rushing to finish my Thanksgiving cooking list, Pumpkin Pie, Frosted Apple Pie Slices, Sweet-potato Puff, and a bowl of Romaine Crunchy Salad, I veered out of control.
I pumped the brakes with the newsflash on TV, “Just in! ALL Romaine lettuce – RECALLED!”
Yikes! Hubby dashed to return the Romaine we had chilling in fridge, and I headed to our favorite neighbor grocer for gourmet lettuce to replace Romaine.
I dashed to make up lost time, and hurriedly flipped on my KitchenAid to whip the sweet potatoes, using both hands at once, I flipped the speed to high with my left hand and I pulled the lock lever on the mixing bowl with my right hand. Unfortunately, I had not seated the bowl into the locking groove at the bottom of the mixer stand.
My sweet potatoes went flying. The bowl flipped and wedged against its base at a 45-degree angle. The motor froze.
I panicked, of course. Fortunately hubby saw this as an opportunity to employ his engineering skills and ran to the garage for tools.
He entered the kitchen armed with a giant paint-stir stick in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other. Within minutes, my mixing bowl was freed, and my KitchenAid was safe to operate.
I wished for organization this Thanksgiving
My Thanksgiving wish to be more organized triggered this cooking frenzy. I did not want to arrive late for our family Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter’s.
Thanksgiving eve, I laid out all my ingredients, pre-measured. Baking pans, recipes, and utensils all stood at attention, waiting for me to jump out of bed Thanksgiving morning and begin cooking.
Alas! A genius plan until I awoke blurry eyed!
I mixed the pumpkin filling according to Libby’s recipe on side of can; pulled the pie dough out of the fridge where it was chilling over-night; rolled out pie dough; poured in pumpkin mixture; popped pie into a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees.
The pumpkin pie had been baking 10 min. at 425 when I licked the spoon to taste the pumpkin pie filling – already baking in the oven.
Oh, no! I forgot the sugar! Or so I thought. In my panic state of mind, I glanced at my counter and saw the bowl of sugar I had pre-measured the night before.
Thinking I forgot to add sugar when I followed the recipe, I grabbed the bowl of sugar, pulled the hot pie out of the oven, and dumped in the bowl of sugar.
Before I stirred the heap of sugar into the baking pie, it flashed through my mind that I had pre-measured sugar for two pies because I was thinking of making two pumpkin pies the night before. The sugar in the bowl was twice the amount needed for one pie!
There I stood over a hot oven, madly scooping out excess sugar, and gingerly stirring in the melting sugar sinking to the bottom of the pie.
It took extra long for that pumpkin pie to bake. It did not bake evenly. I named my pie recipe with double sugar, the Sugar Pumpkin Pie, and served it with Cool Whip at an estimated 500 calories per slice.
Cutting Calories and Eating Healthy Did Not Work This Year
My pumpkin pie would have been great, as always, had it not been for my brainstorm to cut calories and be more healthy after reading an article in Silver Sneakers: 12 Ways to Cut Calories this Thanksgiving (that no one will notice) – ho-ho-ho.
Speed reading the article, Tip #3 suggested: use cream instead of whole milk to cut calories? I tend to do that anyway. There are less calories in cream than milk (not).
I happily substituted cream for the evaporated milk in Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe. While the pie was baking, I licked the spoon. The creamy pumpkin did not taste sweet. Hmmm …
“Oh, no, I thought. I forgot to add sugar?”
Timeout: cream has no sugar content. Even though I had added sugar when I followed the recipe on Libby’s label, my creamy pumpkin did not taste its usual sweetness. In error, I also added the bowl of pre-measured sugar from the counter. Thus my Sugar Pumpkin Pie was born.
Healthy substitutions I successfully made to my recipes this year: added Greek Yogurt to my Sweet Potato Puff and substituted olive oil for vegetable oil in my dressing on the Crunchy Salad.
Review of Tip #3: Use Whole or Low-Fat Milk Instead of Cream
In speed reading Silver Sneaker’s Tips, I inverted the tip in my mind to read “use cream instead of whole or low-fat milk.” I read what I wanted to read even though it defies all logic and calorie charts that specify cream has more calories than milk.
I reasoned with myself that cream is lower in calories because you need to add sugar to cream when you want sweet whipped cream, but commercial milk comes already sweetened.
Cream rises to the top of milk, so it’s the best.
Do not save calories on Marshmallows
Silver Sneakers Tip # 1 says to make sweet potato casseroles a little less sweet with a single top layer of small marshmallows.
So, I asked my husband. Small marshmallows or large?
“Large, of course!” he said.
Really, marshmallows are already fat-free. That’s why people feel good snacking on Rice Krispie Treats!
The layer of big marshmallows looked beautiful towering up over my sweet potatoes. As they baked, they puffed and became a beautiful volcano, melting over the sides of the dish.
“No problem!” Stephanie said as Andy opened the oven door and tossed a pizza pan underneath to catch the dripping marshmallow volcano.
Seeing yummy marshmallows dripping and smoking at the bottom of the oven was a real-time demonstration for our grandchildren of an important law of baking: if pan contents are greater than the size of the pan, they will over-spill while baking. Law: Contents>Pan=spill.
Another Happy Thanksgiving on the Books!
Once I escaped my kitchen and my well-laid plans, Thanksgiving went smoothly at our daughter and son-in-law’s home, Stephanie and Andy.
Andy fixed the best turkey and cornbread stuffing; Stephanie made a fresh cranberry relish, mashed potatoes/gravy, and rolls.
My granddaughters also cook now, so we had Gwen’s famous green-bean casserole and chocolate cheesecake by Cherish.
And, there were leftovers – a perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving tables were decorated this year with a swag of intertwining leaves, pine cones, and fruit. And at each place setting, guests had a place-card with their name penned by granddaughter Lucy.
We gave thanks, watched football, played Banana Peel, star gazed, and hit the outlet mall for Thursday’s Black Friday bargains.
Granddaughter Emma is an ardent student astronomer. As soon as it was dark, she took us star gazing in the front yard. It was a clear night in the Ozarks and a November Full Moon. We spotted several galaxies, the North Star, Polaris, and planets, Saturn and Mars.
Then, we ate again. That’s how the cookie crumbled, Thanksgiving 2018!
Thankful for the kindness our grandchildren – the cousins – showed to each other as they spent Thanksgiving together, and for grandchildren who came to visit!
NOTE: More detailed recipes for Frosted Apple Pie and Frosted Apple Pie Slices.